Kaitlyn Jo Smith

Dancing Before My Eyes

Photo Aug 11, 3 15 44 PMAnd now I get it, why the greatest stories were told before television, why the most romantic of poets have already come and gone. The date is August the eleventh and I sit beneath the Milky Way and a billion stars. A comet burns bright above my head. I watched the sun set, perched high atop a fleshy rock, boulders strewn haphazardly by the hands of God across the barren land. The sky turned violet as the Joshua trees transformed from friendly counterparts to foreboding, spiked silhouettes. I am in California for the first time, in a tent amongst the gravely sand. The Mojave Desert has kissed my skin and swallowed me whole. I am salty and caked in dirt, left in this great expanse to contemplate how small it feels beneath these stars.

We came to Joshua Tree National Park for the Joshua trees, but quickly fell in love with the earth in which they grow. Smooth boulders with womanly curves and ambiguous skin congregate amongst the scraggly foliage. They beg you to climb, to touch, to feel their physicality within their land. They reveal their age through wisdom, sharing knowledge of a long life well lived.


I sit with zero contact to the outside world, a pen and my sketchbook, reflecting on a day well spent in the sun. It is incomprehensible that I should find myself in California, so very far from Ohio and everyone I have ever known and loved. Yet today as I watched the white cotton clouds ascend over the jagged stone, my heart was full. I am not too blind to see that the opportunity I have been given is special. I vow not to take it for granted. A new chapter of life has begun, and even though it is greatly entangled with what chapters came before, it is its own separate entity – terrifyingly exciting and new. If I dwell too long on the change it becomes unbearable, so for now I will put down my pen, sprawl out on the dirt and gaze longingly at the galaxies dancing before my eyes.


*Film from Joshua Tree to come.


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